United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

Supreme Leader Rejects U.S. Overture

            On February 7, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected an offer by Vice President Joe Biden for direct talks. “Some naïve people like the idea of negotiating with America. However, negotiations will not solve the problem,” he said in a speech to Iranian Air Force commanders.
            Khamenei’s official Twitter account also posted more than 30 comments on U.S.-Iran talks within hours. One tweet from Khamenei questioned whether "crippling sanctions" are proof of U.S. goodwill. Khamenei’s comments came one day after the United States announced new economic sanctions on Iran. Iran will judge the United States by its actions, another Khamenei tweet said. The following are excerpts from his speech, followed by his recent tweets.

            “American policy in the Middle East has been destroyed and Americans now need to play a new card. That card is dragging Iran into negotiations...”
            “You take up arms against the nation of Iran and say: ‘negotiate or we fire.’ But you should know that pressure and negotiations are not compatible and our nation will not be intimidated...”
            “Some naïve people like the idea of negotiating with America, however, negotiations will not solve the problem…”
            “If some people want American rule to be established again in Iran, the nation will rise up to face them…”

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